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During the last 5 years, while constantly complaining about a supposed lack of competition in the extractive industries, the U.S. Congress and administrative regulatory agencies have focused their power to make this
"lack of competition" real. Current examples are: (1) in the SEC, the constant effort to broaden the definition of a security and bring the attendant registration and disclosure requirements to bear on the most mundane joint ventures; (2) in the Congress and the SEC, the pressure to bring about accounting changes limiting independents' access to equity markets and encouraging sellouts and mergers; (3) in the IRS, grotesque definitions of joint ventures as partnerships, partnerships as corporations, and farmouts as income; (4) in the FERC, strained interpretations of gas contracts as "convenants running with the land" in order to introduce the principle of administrative confiscation of mineral rights without due process. The ponderous weight of the regulatory hand weighs most heavily n the independent geologist who has no legal or accounting staff.
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